Posted by Harvest Dream on Friday, February 24. 2012 in Health , Inspiration, Intelligence , Perception, Philosophy, Physical Discipline, Poverty, Scientific Advance, Social Evolution, Social Insights0 Comments More...
Source: Reddit - September 3, 2011
I work at a real estate office. We primarily sell houses that were foreclosed on by lenders. We aren't involved in the actual foreclosures or evictions - anonymous lawyers in the cloud somewhere is tasked with the paperwork - we are the boots on the ground that interacts with the actual walls, roofs and occasional bomb threat.
When the lender forecloses - or is thinking of foreclosing - on a property one of the first things that happens is they send somebody out to see if there is actually a house there and if there is anybody living there who needs to be evicted. Lawyers are expensive so they send a real estate agent or a property preservation company out to check. There is the occasional discovery of fraud where there was never a house on the parcel to begin with, but such instances are rare. Sometimes this initial visit results in discovering a house that has burned down or demolished, is abandoned or occupied by somebody who has absolutely no connection with the homeowner. Sometimes the houses are discovered to be crack dens or meth labs, sometimes the sites of cock or dog fighting operations, or you might even find a back yard filled with a pot cultivation that can't be traced back to anybody because it was planted in yet another vacant house in a blighted neighborhood. The house could be worth less than zero - blighted to the point where you can't even give it away (this is a literal statement, I have tried to give away many houses or even vacant lots with no takers over the years) or it could be a waterfront mansion in a gated golf community worth well over seven figures that does not include the number "one". Sometimes they are found to have been seized by the IRS, the local tax authority, the DEA or the US Marshal. Variety is the rule. The end results are the law.
If the house is occupied my job is to make contact and determine who they are: there are laws that establish what happens to a borrower as opposed to a tenant and the servicemember relief act adds an additional set of questions that must be answered. Some of the people have an idea of why I am there. Some claim they never knew they were foreclosed on, or tell me that they have worked something out with their lender, some won't tell me a thing and some threaten me to never return in the name of the police, their lawyer, or the occasional "or else/if I were you". During one initial visit the sight of 50-60 motorcycles parked on the lawn suggested that we try again the next day. At a couple the police had cordoned off the area and at one they were in the process of dredging the lake searching for the body of a depressed former homeowner.
If nobody is home I have to determine if they are at work, on vacation, in the army, wintering/summering at their other home, in jail, in a nursing home, dead or if they moved away. It isn't easy. Utilities can be left on for months. Neighbors can be staging the yard and house to appear occupied to prevent blight in their neighborhood. By the same token people will stop cutting the lawn for months, let trash and old phone books pile up on their porch, lose gas and electric service and continue to live in properties that have not only physically unsafe to approach but are so filthy that when it comes time to clean them out the crews have to wear hazmat suits. One house had a gallon pickle jar filled with dead roaches on the porch. Somebody lived in that house and thought that was a logical thing to do. People like me are tasked with first contact.
Evictions are expensive and time-consuming. Ultimately once the process gets that far there isn't much that can be done to prevent it. You didn't pay your mortgage, the lender gets the house back. There are an infinite number of reasons why the mortgage couldn't be paid, some are more sympathetic than others, but in the end you will be leaving the property willingly or not. The lawyers handle the evictions - they churn through the paperwork in the background, ten thousand properties at a time. They have it down to rote function based on templates, personal experience with the various judges and intimate knowledge of the federal, state and municipal laws, along with dealing with the occasional sheriff who refuses to evict somebody, the informal policies established by the local judges and a myriad of other problems that can arise. As a business decision many lenders have determined that it is cheaper to settle with the occupants - instead of going through the formal eviction they will offer cash. In exchange for surrendering a property in reasonably clean condition with the furnace still hooked up, the kitchen not stripped and the basement not intentionally flooded the lender will cut the occupants a check. It costs much less than an eviction, provides reasonable hope that the plumbing won't freeze and can take a fraction of the time to obtain possession. This is where the personal element becomes real.
Some people jump at the chance. They don't want to live here anymore. They may be getting married and moving in but couldn't sell the unneeded house. They have a new job across the country, they're moving to the other side of the planet. They were renting and found a better place in a neighborhood where the thieves don't grin at them through the kitchen window while they disconnect a running air conditioner knowing that the average response time for the police is measured in weeks for a call like that. The cash is a down payment, a security deposit (since their landlord never returns theirs), or maybe a moving van. These are the best cases. Sometimes they are happy to hear from me. Other times, not so much.
When I make first contact and explain that the lender is offering them money to leave sometimes they tell me that they haven't slept for months, knowing that something was going to happen but never knowing if tomorrow was the day when somebody kicked in their door and threw their kids out on the lawn. Their lenders won't tell them anything, they have nothing to go on but horror stories from other people that they never knew. It never occurred to them that they should call an attorney and ask what was going on. I can be the first people to discuss their situation who isn't a debt collector: you can hear the release of a massive weight in their voice. It isn't much, but at least it is something.
Or they can get angry and defensive, tell me that they were never foreclosed on, tell me that I am trespassing and owe them $5,000 in "land use fees" for "using" their property as I walk to the front door. They threaten to sue, they threaten to call the cops, they say I should look under my car before I start it from now on. They send letters written in various forms of English - one time scribed in crayon - detailing their rights and how I am violating some maritime treaty from the 1700s. In my travels I have learned that if you copyright your name you can't be named in any kind of legal action, if you never write down your ZIP code then you aren't a resident of the United States and that if I tell somebody that their lender is offering them money to vacate while leaving the staircase (yes, these get stolen) and driveway (yes, these get stolen) in place then I am guilty of slave trading under some United Nations something or other.
For those who reject the deal, nothing changes. They don't lose any rights and it isn't counted against them in any way - neither the lawyers nor the courts care because the lenders don't have to offer anything - the eviction process continues. I listen to the stories why they can't/won't take the deal. They can't afford anything else. They don't have anywhere else to go. They want to make the eviction as expensive as possible. They're going to get "a big settlement" from some vague lawsuit any day now. They want their kids to finish out the school year. They intend to take the furnace as soon as they find a new house. All kinds of reasons. Some are heartbreaking, others not so much.
For those who do take the deal, at the appointed date and time I meet them at their former home. I walk the yard and enter every room. I open every drawer and cupboard making sure the house is clean and doesn't have old engines, toxic chemicals or dead dogs lingering anywhere. Sometimes the kids are there, maybe waiting in the car, maybe not. I see the marks on the wall showing how the kids grew over the years. I see the anguished poetry scribbled on the wall by stoned teenagers and the occasional hole punched in the wall. One woman handed me the key to her reinforced bedroom door - during the divorce her now ex-husband was still living in the house and she had to barricade herself in at night. Another said "right there is where I found my son - he couldn't handle losing the house".
Sometimes they don't want the money and don't want to be evicted so they sign a waiver stating that everything left inside can be disposed of. Hospital beds. Oxygen tanks and wheelchairs. Hundreds of boxes of shoes. A mannequin. A 2nd grader's homework portfolio. A wedding album filled with pictures with one person torn out. Get rich quick "business plans". 40 years worth of drafting documents. To the lenders and the lawyers, these things don't exist - they close the file and order a trashout. Sometimes I linger as I check the basement for mold and lead. I am the final period on so many significant chapters. To most other people it is just part of the job but in so many other universes this is where I ended up. There is no difference between myself and these people other than the intangible twists of experience.
And so I listen. I feign dispassion but I'm not fooling anybody. Somehow they can tell that I care and thank me even as they admit that it isn't my fault, that it isn't my responsibility to listen. I've stood inside another's dream for an hour as they spoke, not really to be heard but to say goodbye - to leave the ghosts behind.
They go to the car and return with the openers.
The keys are peeled from a ring.
They thank me. Sometimes they cry.
And they're gone.
I wait for their car to vanish before I put up the sign. To most everybody else it is just another house on just another block in just another city in just another financial catastrophe.
But I was there. I saw the dream end.
But at least I don't make them turn out the lights one last time as they leave.
That's my job.
Source: The Daily Mail - August 9, 2011
Police today admitted they were prepared to use plastic bullets against rioters if a fourth night of lawlessness sees gangs of youths marauding across London and looting businesses.
With an 'unprecedented' 16,000 police officers due on the streets of London tonight, answers were today being demanded over the failure of police to bring last night's riots under control.
Just hours after David Cameron warned rioters they would face the 'full force of the law' shops were boarding up their windows across the capital amid fears of more violence across the capital. Businesses, pubs, schools and even medical centres were sending staff home early.
The army of police officers on duty in London will swell to 16,000 tonight - compared with just 6,000 last night - as reinforcements are drafted in from 26 forces across the country.
Mr Kavanagh said he was sorry 'that London has got to wake up to these scenes'.
'We need to do better for London because those images last night were shocking for everyone,' Mr Kavanagh told reporters.
Every police cell in the capital was full today, forcing officers to transport suspects outside the city.
Huge swathes of the capital woke up to the charred debris of burned out buildings and streets littered with waste. David Cameron has recalled Parliament for the day on Thursday as he pledged to bring the situation under control
After cutting short his Tuscany holiday to deal with the worsening public disorder crisis, the Prime Minister said today: 'We will do everything necessary to restore order to Britain's streets and to make them safe for the law-abiding.
'Let me, first of all, completely condemn the scenes that we have seen on our television screens and people have witnessed in their communities.
'These are sickening scenes - scenes of people looting, vandalising, thieving, robbing, scenes of people attacking police officers and even attacking fire crews as they're trying to put out fires. This is criminality, pure and simple, and it has to be confronted and defeated.
Last night 44 police officers were injured - four of them seriously - as the capital endured the worst night of violence it has seen for decades.
..... the well-known Reeves furniture store in Croydon, south London, which first opened in 1867, was completely destroyed by a huge fire.
Owner Trevor Reeves told Sky News: 'It has just provided my family and the 15 or 20 staff and families that were supported, it's just completely destroyed.
'Words fail me. It's just gone, it's five generations. My father is distraught at the moment. It's just mindless thuggery.'
In Clapham youths went on the rampage trashing dozens of shops and walking out with plundered products.
Residents complained that police were very slow to respond as a huge Debenhams store was ransacked. This morning the whole high street was cordoned off as a major investigation and clear-up got underway.
Rioting began in Hackney shortly after 4pm yesterday when a mob of hooded youths began hurling missiles at officers and setting fire to bins and cars. Masked rioters on BMX bicycles armed with batons attacked a crowded London bus during the evening rush-hour, chasing terrified commuters as they tried to escape.
The thugs, some as young as eight, forced the driver to stop the double-decker by pelting it with champagne bottles stolen from a nearby Tesco. About 40 passengers – some carrying screaming toddlers – burst out of the exits and sprinted away.
Within hours similar scenes erupted in Lewisham, spreading to Peckham, Deptford and Croydon in south-east London.
Hundreds of fires were started all over the capital, from Camden in the north, Woolwich in the south-east, Ealing in west London and then, more worryingly as police lost control of the streets last night, locals were forced to take the law into their own hands to protect their homes and businesses.
In Dalston and Hackney, north-east London, shopkeepers and their families fought back against looting youths and forced them from the streets. As surrounding areas were pillaged members of the town's large Turkish community stood firm outside their homes and businesses.
Mr Kavanagh said it was 'a shocking and appalling morning for London to wake up to' and he was struck by the 'sheer scale and speed with which the attacks took place across London last night'. It 'was truly unprecedented' he said.
He said there was a 'changing nature' in the make-up of the rioters, with the profile changing 'dramatically' last night from 14 to 17-year-olds to 'older groups in cars doing organised looting'.
He added: 'And there was the far more focused attempt at injuring London Ambulance staff, there to help the community, trying to injure Fire Brigade officers and, of course, police officers.'
Gangs of looters - who appeared to be teenagers and young adults from a range of different backgrounds - raided hundreds of shops and businesses across London, making off with TVs and other electrical goods, cigarettes, clothes and alcohol.
Staff at Birmingham Children's Hospital formed a 'human shield' as they barricaded themselves inside after rioters threatened to set it on fire - in an evil bid to 'win respect' from fellow thugs.
Police ordered an immediate lock-down of the hospital after rioters used Twitter to spread the word and encourage thugs to storm the wards just after 9pm last night. Gangs of rioters rounded on the hospital - which cares for some of Britain's sickest children - armed with broken bottles and knives hoping to 'out-riot' yobs running amok in London.
A hospital spokesman said: 'We were told by police to lock the hospital down. They asked us not to let anyone in or out until it was safe to do so. 'It is extremely dangerous and our main concern is for the welfare of our patients and staff.'
In Medway, Kent, a group of around 15 youths arrived by train and went on the rampage, while violence was also reported in Chatham, Rainham and Gillingham.
Yobs also went on the rampage in Nottingham where up to 40 cars were damaged, there were attempts to loot shops and a container of 200 tyres was set on fire.
Cars and wheelie bins were torched during five hours of violence across Liverpool. A Tesco store in Myrtle Street was looted and police came under attack in Admiral Street with some of the rioters aged as young as 10.
Related - Mob Attacks Outside Wis. State Fair
Posted by Harvest Dream on Friday, July 8. 2011 in Africa, Animals, Corruption, Dark Arts, Earth Changes, Ecology, Economy, ET/Exotic Tech, Food Security, Global Banking, Health , Infrastructure, Poverty, Technology, The Occult
Weather wars comprise a good deal of what today is considered climate change, the technological tug of war battle for moisture is the hidden element that pursuades markets and alters the course of entire societies. Attached at the hip to this growing turmoil is the economic warfare sphere, which profits and exacerbates the growing food dislocations around the world, primarily felt by its intended targets, the 'infrastructural poor', who have no leverage in the system of global trade, and who rely on seasonal climate cycles which no longer apply, discontinued as they increasingly are by means of technological force, ecological ruination and soil degradation.
Source: Global Research - July 8, 2011
The countries comprising the Horn of Africa face the threat of famine, after a series of failed and poor rainy seasons has created the worst drought in 60 years.
The 2010 late rainy season failed completely in many parts of the area and the April-May rains were very low, with northeast Kenya getting only 10 percent of the usual rainfall. The impact is worst in Somalia and Ethiopia, but Kenya, Djibouti and parts of Uganda are also affected.
The current USAID Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) map of the area, indicating levels of food insecurity, shows large parts of Ethiopia and Somalia classed as in emergency and most of the remaining parts of each country classed as in crisis. Large areas of northeastern Kenya are classed as in crisis. In total, around 10 million people are affected.
Sarah Robinson from the Irish humanitarian agency on the ground in Somalia explained, “A combination of hunger and despair means that many people simply go to sleep and do not have the energy to wake up. This has the potential to be as bad as anything since 1991.”
A major famine in 1991 killed around a quarter of a million people and left two million displaced.
In Somalia the drought and threatened famine are compounded by the ongoing civil war and social upheaval. Some people leaving the drought ravaged rural areas have trekked to the capital, Mogadishu, but many more have headed for Ethiopia and Kenya.
Hundreds of thousands of people are on the move, some walking for weeks and covering hundreds of miles in search of relief. One woman, Fatuma, speaking to the Save the Children Fund said she had walked for six weeks with her four children, all under 11, from Somalia to a refugee camp in Kenya.
She explained, “The weather was very harsh. It was so hot, and there was very little shelter. I left my husband in Somalia. I do not know if I will see him again. The war in Somalia is very bad for families. The drought is just too much. We cannot cope. We had 15 goats. But they died one by one because of the drought. We had a well in my village, but it dried up. Then the one in the next village dried up.”
One refugee camp at Dadaab, in the northeastern area of Kenya, was built to hold 90,000 people but is now trying to cope with more than four times that number, with thousands squatting on the perimeter hoping to get in. Dadaab has now become the largest refugee camp in the world.
The Horn of Africa area has been accustomed to scarce water supplies at some times of the year, but the pattern of rainfall does seem to be changing. In much of the area of Ethiopia and Somalia the failure of two successive rainy periods is something that would occur every 10 years or so, but now appears to occur every two years. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) spokesman for the area, Michael Klaus, explained, “We realised these recurrent droughts used to happen every 5-10 years but what we see now is it basically every other year… an indication of climate change conditions.”
According to the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the rainfall data for 2010-11 for much of Kenya and Ethiopia was the driest or second driest for 60 years. Climate researchers are beginning to attribute extreme weather patterns to climate change. Peter Stott at the Met Office Hadley Centre in Britain recently stated, “We’ve certainly moved beyond the point of saying that we can’t say anything about attributing extreme weather events to climate change.”
Adapting to the harsh conditions of the area, many people live in pastoral communities moving their herds of animals to pasture and water in neighbouring areas to be able to maintain their herds. This way of life had been sustainable and was a big contribution to the GDP of countries in the Horn of Africa. The current drought is killing hundreds of thousands of herd animals, destroying the pastoral people’s livelihoods.
Until recent days there had been little international media coverage of the fast developing potential catastrophe in the Horn of Africa. It has now received some coverage, but there is still a big shortfall in the levels of aid been offered to alleviate the situation.
Aid agencies have appealed for around $530 million in donations for Kenya and the same for Somalia, but so far have received only about half of what is needed. The WFP issued a statement last week saying, “The humanitarian response in Somalia and Ethiopia in particular is hampered by large funding shortfalls. New contributions are urgently needed or suffering will grow.”
The situation is being exacerbated by rising food prices. Kenya is currently experiencing double-digit inflation and, according to a UN IRIN news report, the price of maize, one of the main food staples has risen threefold since January. In Djibouti, wheat flour rose by 17 percent in the course of one month earlier in the year.
A World Development Movement (WDM) report on responses to the recent hike in food prices quoted a Nairobi transport worker saying. “Maybe it’s time we went the way of Egypt.”
A WDM report issued in June warned of a summer of speculation boosting food prices. The report notes, “The price of maize—more of which is grown than any other staple food crop—has increased by 102 percent since April 2010. New research from the World Development Movement reveals that hedge funds, investment banks and others own futures contracts for maize worth $15.7 billion up 127.5 percent from a year ago.”
Posted by Harvest Dream on Wednesday, July 6. 2011 in Corporate Power, Corruption, Dark Arts, Economy, Global Banking, Infrastructure, Injustice, Investing, Media, Perception, Poverty, The Occult, USA
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